If you’ve studied computers, then it’s very likely that you’ve been introduced to the world of zeros and ones. It’s the world that forms the foundation of the Digital Age (as well as the rather cool green and black screen for the Matrix series). And the person responsible for this world is Claude Shannon, often described as the father of the Information Age.
April 30, 2016, would have been Shannon’s 100th birthday, and Google acknowledges Shannon’s contribution with an animated doodle, in which a cartoon Shannon is juggling, a reference to the juggling machines he built and his juggling on a unicycle in lab halls.
Credited for coining the term “bit”, short for binary digits, Shannon’s most famous work is ‘A Mathematical Theory of Communication’ (1949), were he introduced information theory. This is the branch of mathematics focused on transmitting digital data, and in which he first used the term ‘bit’ — the 1 and 0 combination that stands for true-false, on-off, yes-no.
Shannon was born in Petoskey, Michigan, US, in 1916, and was said to be always interested in all things mechanical and electrical at school. He later worked as a cryptographer for the US government during World War II. It was there that he is credited to have developed the first unbreakable cipher.
For fun, Shannon with electronic switches, loved to play pranks and was often spotten in Bell Labs on a unicycle. He also invented such cool devices as the rocket-powered frisbee and flame-throwing trumpet. It is this playful side of the genius that the Google Doodle by artist Nate Swinehart celebrates.
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